Home / News / India /  ‘Tech is improving the prospects of some nations at the expense of others’

NEW DELHI: Technology has become a key yardstick to measure a nation’s standing and democracies in particular face challenges in this regard, foreign minister S. Jaishankar said on Tuesday.

“Technology has always been a double-edged sword. It has opened up new vistas of progress just as it has helped create greater vulnerabilities and threats. A recurring theme in global governance has been to find the right balance," Jaishankar said in a virtual address at the Global Technology Summit 2021.

The summit, jointly organized by Carnegie India and the foreign ministry, has been an annual event since 2016.

Technology is proving to be a determinant in shaping the fate of nations, Jaishankar said, often improving the prospects of some at the expense of others.

“In a world that is more globalized and technology driven, mastering of key domains has now become an expression of power and influence. Indeed, technology today is a metric to measure a nation’s standing like never before," he said.

The impact of technology on societies was no less “transformational", the minister said, pointing to the fact that it had become “a key governance tool that can define the quality of delivery".

“It is equally an extraordinarily effective communication medium that can change the very nature of politics. Democracies, in particular, are facing some unique challenges stemming from technology," he said, though he did not elaborate what the challenges were.

In his address via video link, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the UK and India as “natural partners" working together on many joint initiatives, including 5G and telecom, besides startups that would transform lives and promote the principles of freedom, openness and peace.

India and the UK will continue to deepen their bonds on technology and other areas as they have set out in the 2030 India-UK roadmap, he said.

The 2030 Roadmap for stronger UK-India strategic ties was signed by Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a virtual summit in May this year.

“We know that a huge advantage awaits us with artificial intelligence and quantum computing, and with technology poised to help us find answers to some of humanity’s biggest challenges," Johnson said. “That’s why I was so pleased earlier this year when my friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I agreed that our two countries should work closer than ever before on technology and the roles that will help us shape the coming age," he said.

Hostile forces use technology to gain the upper hand, UK foreign secretary Liz Truss said at the event via video link.

“That’s why freedom-loving democracies need to step up to shape global technologies and champion our interest," she said. “Every time I visit India or meet Indian businesses, I am reminded of what natural partners we are. We are open to the world as outward looking nations, which is why the UK is India’s second largest investment destination," she said.

PTI contributed to this story.

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